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One week down, 51 to go

2016 goals

We’re one week into the New Year. How much progress have you made on your book?

“What? It’s only a week. Why are you expecting me to be making progress already?”

Well – think about it. If we break our year down into 52-week units, we’ve already blown through the first one. So, yeah. You’ve got 51 more in which to achieve those goals … but if you haven’t started yet, when are you going to? In just seven more days, you’ll be two weeks into the New Year, meaning you’ll be at 2/52 … or 1/26.

“Oh my god – now she’s doing MATH!”

Yes – but the math’s not the point. The point is that all those hours we think we have at our disposal vanish one day at a time, one week at a time, one month at a time, until we look up and it’s the Fourth of July and we’re wondering what the hell we did with the first half of the year. Or we look up and it’s 2016 and we wonder why we still haven’t finished that novel we started writing in 2004.

The best way I know to create momentum and keep it going is a little process called goal-setting. I’ve written on it before, so I’m not going to hammer it too hard again here. But if you really want to write, publish, launch, or sell books, you HAVE to:

  • Know your BIG goal.
  • Attach a deadline to it.
  • Break the big goal into sub-goals, with deadlines of their own.
  • Write them down!
  • Have a plan to achieve the sub-goals.
  • Take action daily to achieve your goals.
  • Get an accountability partner to help you stay the course.
  • Check in with him/her regularly – and be honest about your progress.
  • Have a plan for correction if you find you’re not achieving your sub-goals.
  • Celebrate your milestones.
  • When things go sideways – as they are once in a while wont to do – get up, shake yourself off, and get back on track.

You can make excuses if you want to – sometimes they make us feel much better about why we’re not getting things done. Not enough time, not enough money, not sure what the next step is, family/work obligations, unreliable help – I’ve heard them and used them all. But excuses don’t help us move forward. In fact, they do the exact opposite: they keep us safe and comfortable and stuck right where we are.

If you really want to move forward, work when you don’t feel like it. Write when it’s inconvenient. Answer the email you’d typically put off until tomorrow. Make that phone call you’ve been resisting. Brew coffee at home for a month so you can take the class or hire the expert you need to take you to the next step.

We’re one week into 2016. What are you going to do to make this your best book year yet?

Laura

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YOU are a genius – what’s your excuse for not sharing it?

I posted this picture yesterday on my Facebook page and immediately received the comment, “It is erroneous to compare ourselves to others.”

To which, I responded, “No, it isn’t. It’s a benchmark – not a right or a wrong thing.”

It’s not that I don’t get this woman’s point. We are each individuals, and we must find and follow our own paths. But I think the larger message – WHAT’S YOUR EXCUSE? – has as much validity, if not more. The thing is, many of us have a tendency to think small. Rather than going all in and reaching for that BHAG (big, hairy, audacious goal), we fill our minds with all the reasons we could never…

  • It’s too hard.
  • I don’t know enough.
  • I don’t have the right connections.
  • I don’t have enough money.
  • I’m too busy.
  • If I do that, I’ll have to give up other things.
  • I’m not smart enough.
  • What if I fail?
  • What if people laugh at me?

And the worst excuse of all?

  • What if I succeed?

There’s no doubt Steve Jobs was an exceptional man, an unparalleled creative and technical visionary. The thing is, while Jobs’ accomplishments may go unmatched for eons, his genius certainly is not unmatched. But what are the people who have his genius doing with it? What are the people who have half his genius doing with it? What are the people who have one really good idea doing with it? What are you doing with your level of genius and your really good idea?

The great motivator, Wayne Dyer, has a famous quote:

Don’t die with your music still inside you.

I do NOT advise despairing because you are not as accomplished as the next person, let alone Steve Jobs. But I think we can all use a little reminder that we do have a gift, a goal, a reason that motivates us. Let’s find our special gifts and honor them by writing, drawing, creating, releasing, and sharing those gifts with the world.

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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